It’s the Chinese New Year! 2014 is Year of the Horse – Did you know moon plays roll?

It’s the Chinese New Year! And this year in China, 2014 marks the Year of the Horse.

The interesting thing about the Chinese calendar is that the whole thing is based upon a Lunisolar Calendar – which is essentially a calendar which is based around the moon phase and solar year.  The Chinese New Year starts with the second New Moon after the winter solstice….celebrations welcoming in the new year will start with the new moon and continue for 15 days until the full moon. 🙂

Although there is a heavy emphasis on the moon, Chinese legends and traditions centering around the new year do not reference werewolves at all.  What Chinese mythology does reference however is a creature called Nian which is said to be a half dragon, half lion beast (cousin of werewolf?) which would emerge once each year at the beginning of the New Year and attack people!  Legends say that one day an old man appeared and told the fearful villagers how to drive the creature away.  He told them that the creature disliked the color red and was afraid of loud noises.  The villagers listened to the man (who was in fact a god) and hung red all across the village and made as much noise as they could.  The result? They drove the beast away!  Since then, the color red has become associated with luck and good fortune, and annual festivities are marked with not only red, but firecrackers, drums, and plenty of noise!

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